Judge orders Illinois to pay Medicaid providers during budget impasse

A federal judge has ruled that Medicaid payments owed to healthcare providers in Cook County, Illinois, must be paid, even though Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers haven't approved a spending plan authorizing those payments, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The ruling was in a case brought by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty against the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The Shriver Center argued the state was in violation of a previously entered consent decree by not issuing complete Medicaid payments during the budget impasse. The center also claimed some provider organizations, including the New Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, would be forced to close if the funds were not issued.

The judge ruled in favor of the Shriver Center and held that the state must issue the payments and provide children in Cook County with access to healthcare in compliance with the standards of the federal Medicaid Act, according to the report.

Regarding the court's ruling, Shriver Center President John Bouman told the Chicago Tribune, "Now poor children and other Medicaid beneficiaries will be able to get the healthcare they need, even as Illinois officials continue to fail to arrive at a state budget."

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